The Novice by Taran Matharu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Yes, I did sleep on it and then increase my rating, which I almost never do. I have considered this from all angles, and the bottom line is that I really enjoyed this story. It's definitely at least a 4.5 for me, which means I should follow my protocol and round up the stars, especially considering that I hit play on book two about 5 seconds after book one concluded.
Interestingly enough, I own this book in hardcover, as an ebook, and on audiobook, through Audible. I'm not sure what drove me to keep collecting it over the past couple of years in all different formats, but then not follow through with actually reading it. It's possible the gorgeous cover deterred me, as I have been burned a few times by pretty wrappers to underwhelming stories. This is not one of those. The story is just as intriguing as the cover, and the audiobook has a fantastic narrator.
Sure, there are themes and creatures that are found in other stories, but there should be. This is a fantasy novel, and I don't want to be limited to only reading about elves, dwarves, and orcs in Tolkien novels. Sometimes the best stories are inspired by ideas, concepts, and creatures in other stories. And that's okay.
Someone told me this is like Pokemon, so perhaps that is the true inspiration. I do not know, for despite being a middle school librarian for 6 years and hearing students talk and talk about Pokemon, I never really explored anything in the Pokemon realm. However, if this truly is inspired by Pokemon, then I probably need to read/watch/play some Pokemon (clearly I don't even know what you do with Pokemon), because this was fun.
Also, I'm almost halfway through book two already, and it has my full attention. This was a good change of pace, and I want my own demon. Please and thank you.